Concrete consists of a cement paste matrix and various reinforcements. An interface transition zone (ITZ) exists between the cement paste and the reinforcement, which can greatly affect the strength and durability of the concrete. Currently, the Sol-gel method is used to produce nano silica coating on reinforcements, however, this proves to be expensive and demands a long reaction time making it economically unfeasible for large scale application in concrete.
Concrete reinforcement is soaked into a diluted solution of water-soluble polymer. The polymer mimics the protein the diatom uses to tightly control the precipitation of silica. Then, the polymer-coated reinforcement is soaked into a sodium silicate solution, which triggers the rapid polycondensation of sodium silicate to form a solid silica coating on the surface of the reinforcement.
- The bond strength between the reinforcement and the cement matrix produced via this method far exceeds that achieved through the Sol-gel method.
- Does not require comparatively expensive chemicals or complex equipment.
- Eco-friendly as no toxic precursor materials or surfactants are used, therefore no hazardous waste is produced.
- Quicker than the existing Sol-gel method as it only takes a few hours to complete.
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